Introvert Alert

I've recently been reading "Quiet" by Susan Cain - about the differences between introverts and extroverts, and the equal significance of both to society - I love it, and it's altered my perception of my own psyche and I've not even finished it yet.

I have always been of a nervous disposition. This surprises everyone that knows me. My friends and family regard me as witty, sassy and headstrong, yet I regard myself to be not only these things, but sensitive as shit. I am prone to panic attacks, crippling paranoia and self-doubt, and I over-analyse the most negligible of things;  but this doesn't mean I'm not witty, sassy and headstrong at the same time. This book has told me that yeah, I may be paranoid and nervous a lot about daft things and at unwarranted times, but these things make me who I am, and these things contribute to the way I perceive the world and the way I act in accordance to this.

In "Quiet", Susan Cain is the spear-header for introverts. She puts forward excessive arguments for the importance and relevance of historic and contemporary introverts - Elenaor Roosevelt, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak - and introduces several examples of scientific research that explain why we introverts are the way we are. Scientists have a theory that "high reactive" (or introversion,  whatever floats your boat) is 40-60% hereditary, and I can totally see this in some of my peers and their parents, but not in myself; my twin sister and my mother are what I would deem to be extroverts (low reactive), and my dad probably sits somewhere in between. I mirror my dad's characteristics and mindset in so many ways - we both enjoy the company of others as much as we like personal space and privacy, we both admit to getting utterly lost in literature and music to the point where nothing else seems to exist or matter, and we both think before we speak. But my dad is by no means sensitive, quite the opposite. 

Yesterday, my dad and I went for a short drive so that I could get used to the feel of my car since I've barely driven since I passed my test over a month ago. All was good until I got to a set of traffic lights that sit at the top of a slight slope. I stopped at the red light. I stalled trying to set off. I panicked. A panic attack ensued. Dad tried to help. We switched places, he got us out of there, we parked up and I fell apart in front of him.

Now, my dad is one of my best friends, and I don't think he was angry by how I reacted, but he was certainly confused and a little bit miffed that I panicked so quickly. "How the hell did you pass your test if that's how you react? How did you manage during your exams? You're the last person I thought would have panic attacks."
You're the last person I thought would have panic attacks.
He thinks this because to him, I'm his witty, sassy, headstrong daughter that glides through life not giving a shit about things that a shit need not be given to. But I am the epitome of what is described as 'high reactive', and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It just means stimulation strikes and effects me more than others, and that I'm considerate and careful about everything and everyone. Failure to me is embarrassing and hard to hack, so when I stall in my car or I get a bad review on a paper I've written, my natural reaction is to either break down in tears or panic that I'm not good enough. And no-one likes to feel like they're not good enough; not introverts, not extroverts, not me.

If there are other introverts like me out there, and I'm sure there are, I highly recommend you read "Quiet". It's beautiful, it's smart, it's an eye-opener, and it's the closure we introverted types could need.

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